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Henry Doktorski's parents both enjoyed music. His mother played violin as a child, and she and Henry's father both enjoyed listening to 33 rpm records of Polish koledy (traditional carols) during the Christmas season. It would seem natural then that Henry's introduction to the exciting world of music performance began in 1963, at the age of seven, when a traveling salesman convinced his mother and father to purchase and accordion for the youth and to start him on music lessons. 

Henry quickly learned ethnic music and jazz standards, and became somewhat of a prodigy. He enjoyed performing at school functions and started a combo with his buddies in which he played accordion, piano and a farfisa electric organ. Henry recalls that "although we sometimes played tunes from the 1920s like Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue and Baby Face (for members of my grandfather's generation), we specialized in the hit songs of the day like Get Back (Beatles), Evil Ways (Santana) and Iron Man (Black Sabbath)."

But when he discovered classical music in high school, he abandoned the accordion for serious piano studies. He just couldn't see himself continuing to play polkas and waltzes (and even rock music) after having developed a taste for Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and Bartok. In a few short years, Henry had achieved enough facility on the piano to get a scholarship as a piano major in a small mid-western private college.

However, in 1987 (more than ten years after he had put his accordion in the closet) -- while serving as organist and choir director for the City of God (New Vrindaban) religious community in West Virginia -- he was forced to pick up the instrument again. The abbot had heard from one of the monks that Henry played the instrument and he requested that Henry  bring it during the daily evening services, "just to liven things up a bit." The accordion turned out to be a big hit and several of the monks asked Henry to teach them how to play.

As a result, Henry found himself in New York City a week or two later, obliged with the task of purchasing instruments for his newly formed accordion ensemble, and it was there that he discovered the classical accordion sub-culture. At one of the largest dealer's showrooms, he  noticed a newspaper article on a bulletin board about an accordion ensemble.  The caption read, "The Westmont Philharmonia Accordion Orchestra, from Haddon Township New Jersey ," and the article mentioned that the group performed pieces by Bach, Vivaldi, Rossini, Dvorak, and several Russian composers.

Henry was fascinated, since he had never heard of an accordion orchestra, much less one that specialized in classical music! The thought fascinated Henry, so he made a mental note of the name of the orchestra and returned to West Virginia .

After arriving home, through some luck he found the phone number for for the Westmont Philharmonia Accordion Orchestra in Haddon Township , New Jersey . Fortunately, he connected with  Stanley Darrow, the director of the music school and the conductor of the orchestra. This was the roundabout way that Henry discovered the world of the classical accordion, of which he affectionately states "The adventure has been a great revelation for me."  Fortunately for the rest of the accordion world, Henry has continued to produce outstanding compositions, arrangements, CDs, cassettes, books, web sites and more all dedicated to the accordion.

As an author, Henry has had articles and letters printed in diverse publications ranging from the scholarly journal Music Theory -- Explorations and Applications to the trendy pop music magazine Rolling Stone ; from the new-age journal Uzubuh to the Danish accordion magazine Harmonikacentret ; from The Pittsburgh Catholic to Playboy .  He has written over one hundred thirty reviews as well as dozens of articles which can be read on The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. web site. He is currently completing a pioneering book, The Classical Squeezebox -- The History of the Accordion (and Other Free-Reed Instruments) in Classical Music , to be published in 2001. Two of his books are available for purchase from this web site: The Free-Reed Review: The First Fifty Reviews , and a manuscript copy of The Classical Squeezebox .

Henry is a member of the advisory and editorial board for The Center for the Study of Free-Reed Instruments at the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York, and Pi Kappa Lambda, the academic honor society in the field of music.

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